Two Gallants (Joyce)

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Two Gallants
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two young men wandered the streets of Dublin, discussing their encounters with women and their struggles to find stable jobs, while one of them attempted to seduce a young woman for personal gain.

Two young men, Corley and Lenehan, were walking down the streets of the city on a warm August evening.

Corley — son of a police inspector; burly, oily-skinned, and manipulative; experienced with women and associated with racing.
Lenehan — Corley's friend; squat, ruddy, and amused; a sporting vagrant with a talent for storytelling and a reputation as a leech.

They were discussing Corley's recent romantic escapades with a young woman he had met on Dame Street. Corley boasted about how he had managed to charm the woman, who was a servant in a house on Baggot Street, and how she had brought him cigarettes and paid for their tram rides. Lenehan listened with amusement and skepticism, questioning whether Corley could really pull off his plan to seduce the woman.

She's a fine decent tart, that's what she is.

As they walked, they came across a harpist playing music in the street, which seemed to affect Lenehan's mood. He began to feel weary and disillusioned with his own life, wondering if he would ever find a good job or a simple-minded girl to settle down with.

I was tired of knocking about, of pulling the devil by the tail, of shifts and intrigues.

After parting ways with Corley, Lenehan wandered the streets alone, eventually stopping at a refreshment bar for a plate of peas and a bottle of ginger beer. He contemplated his friend's situation and his own, feeling a mix of hope and bitterness.

Later, Lenehan spotted Corley and the young woman walking together, and he followed them at a distance, curious about the outcome of their rendezvous. The woman eventually went down the steps into a house, leaving Corley waiting outside. After a few minutes, a woman came out of the house and coughed, signaling Corley to approach. The young woman reappeared, running up the steps, and Corley began to walk away quickly.

Lenehan caught up with his friend, demanding to know if his plan had been successful. Corley remained silent until they reached a street corner, where he finally revealed a small gold coin in his palm, indicating that his scheme had indeed worked.